- Chris Davis grew up in Longview, Texas as a fan of the Rangers. Long View is less than 150 miles from the Ballpark in Arlington.
In high school, Davis both pitched and played the outfield. In the spring of 2006, he mashed 17 home runs for Navarro Junior College in Texas. Chris was limited on the mound because of a sore back.
But he still boosted his draft stock significantly, going in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, a year after the Angels took him in the 35th round.
And the Rangers provided a bonus of $172,500 to sign Chris. Randy Taylor is the scout who signed him.
- During the winter before 2007 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Davis as 11th-best prospect in the Rangers organization. And they moved Chris all the way up to #2 in the spring of 2008.
- Midway through the 2007 season, Chris had a 35-game hitting streak for the Bakersfield Blaze (CAL-Rangers). That tied the longest streak in California League history, set by Modesto's Brent Gates in 1992. The streak ended on July 18 when he went 0-for-4 with a walk. Davis's streak started June 7 and the 21-year-old third baseman hit .390 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs in those 35 games.
For the 2007 season, the Rangers named Davis as their Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year. Davis split time between Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco, and hit .297 with 36 home runs and 118 RBIs.
He was second in all of the minor leagues in home runs and RBIs.
- It wasn't uncommon for Chris Davis to make the 150-mile trip to Rangers Ballpark during his junior and senior years at Longview High School, which happened to be Mark Teixeira's first two seasons in the big leagues. Though Davis was a shortstop and pitcher for the Lobos, the first baseman Teixeira caught the teenager's eye, particularly at the plate.
"I just remember how cool it was that they played the theme from 'The Natural' whenever he hit a home run," Davis recalls. "And I think he homered every time I was out there."
The parallels between Teixeira and Davis are obvious. The Rangers drafted Teixeira, a 6'3", 220-pound power hitter, out of college. He played his first pro season at third base, before moving across the diamond as he broke into the big leagues as a first baseman.
Similarly, Texas drafted the 6' 3", 220-pound Davis out of college. After a debut summer at first base and the outfield, he played his first full pro season at third base, moving this year to first base and arriving in Arlington at that position. (Jamey Newberg / Special to MLB.com).
There are three tattoos on Davis's upper body—a cross on his back that came in 2006, the word "salvation" scrawled vertically down his right side the following year, and, most recently, the Bible passage from Hebrews 12:1-2.
The passage is etched into Davis's left side, words that resonated even when the dull thud of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt behind him became a daily occurrence, a cause for sleepless nights, and a revolving ticket to Triple-A back when he was with the Rangers organization.
"Let us throw off everything that hinders," reads the black ink over his rib cage. "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
The cursive J that's tattooed on his left ring finger is for his wife, Jill.
Davis started his first Major League game at first base on June 27, 2008, and hit his first Major League home run during the game. He also homered the next day, becoming the first Texas Ranger to homer in both of his first two Major League starts.
During the offseason before 2011 spring training, Chris recommitted to Jesus Christ. Sent back to Triple-A Round Rock to start the season, Davis thought that if things didn't change soon—if the Rangers didn't give him a real shot or trade him—he was going to become a minister. He prayed about it, and the very next day, Chris hit three home runs.
Chris is a workout junkie who spent the offseason before 2013 Spring Training in North Dallas waking up before sunrise and trudging to the neighborhood track to do three hours of speed and explosiveness training.
During Davis's strong first half of the 2013 season, the hint that he must be doing steroids rose from the talk shows and tabloids.
"There's nothing in my mind or body that would ever allow me to do something like that," Chris said, growing a bit testy. "The people who just assume you're on steroids aren't there in the weight room after a game when you've played four hours in the sweltering heat and you have zero energy and you know you need to get a workout in. It's just disrespectful."
Davis and his wife Jill live in Baltimore, Maryland (in-season) and Dallas, Texas (off-season).They married in 2011.
Davis was featured on one of SI's regional covers for the magazine's Aug. 26, 2013 issue.
The intrigue over what Davis accomplished in 2013 extends well beyond the confines of the O's record book. Because in the age of drug testing, of specialized bullpens and ample high-velocity arms, of intense video study and spray charts and hot and cold zones, of high strikeouts and low batting averages, and a steady stream of 2-1 games, the 50-homer hitter is an increasingly captivating commodity.
That Davis, the 27th member of the 50-homer club, has become one qualifies as a surprise, as was the case when Jose Bautista, the last player to reach the mark, did it in 2010. Then again, we didn't have full access or understanding of the competitive fire, the hunger to adjust and adapt and the untapped talent that rested within Davis and Bautista, both of whom have faced unfair and undue scrutiny of their accomplishments from the intellectually lazy.
For Davis, that scrutiny will persist, undoubtedly. The Big 50 only refreshes his prominent spot on the national radar and therefore only regurgitates the discourse over whether his coming-of-age is on the up-and-up. It's the consistency with which that power now presents itself that is the real revelation here.
Davis, through much trial and error, found a routine and an approach that worked for him. And then he repeated it and repeated it and repeated it again. We saw the first signs of his surge last season, when his 33 homers, including 10 in the final month, helped propel the O's to a Wild Card berth. And this season, he's proven to be the real deal, the only man standing between Miguel Cabrera and his second consecutive Triple Crown.
Some credit here goes to Robinson Cano, who came across Davis in winter ball after the 2010 season and encouraged him to focus on his strengths (quite literally) and not be so caught up in contact, a conversation Davis has cited as his epiphany. Credit also goes to Andy MacPhail, who made the savvy swap with the Rangers.
Mostly, though, credit goes to Davis himself. For following his inherent belief in his abilities into the video room, into the batting cage and into the batter's box, where, on September 13, 2013, he swung big, swung hard, and hit the Big 50. (Castrovince - mlb.com - 9/13/13)
2014 Spring Training Q&A:
Favorite food: Mexican food. From Texas.
Favorite movie: Forrest Gump. It's a feel-good story. Saw it a long time ago, will still sit and watch it when it's on.
Special talent: I'm a good reader. See, you're surprised. I read a lot. The last book I read was Francis Chan's, "Crazy Love." As you can see right now [on my iPad], I'm reading "The Blessed Life" [by Robert Morris].
If I wasn't a baseball player I'd be ... Probably a youth pastor.
Favorite offseason place: Home [just north of Dallas]. Just being at home with my family. I hunt a lot so anywhere in the woods, in nature.
Prized possession: My Bible. It's what I carry with me everywhere.
Chris Davis and his wife, Jill, welcomed a baby girl on 5/25/14 in Baltimore. It is the couple's first child.
"Everything went well, great," manager Buck Showalter said. "I promised him before we left, I said, 'Listen, don't feel like you have to text me and do this and do that. I'll leave you alone. Then on the plane [after the game] I texted him, I said, "I lied. I'm dying to know how everything went.'"
September 12, 2014: The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced that Davis has received a 25-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
September 15, 2014: Davis was one of several people who lifted an overturned truck to help accident victims on a Monday afternoon,a witness at the scene told MASNSports.com. According to the firsthand account, Davis waved people over to help him lift what was described as a heavy pickup truck in order to unpin a man who was trapped underneath.
Mike Soukup, one of the people who helped Davis said that the accident occurred on I-295 and that Davis, who currently is serving a 25-game suspension for a positive amphetamine test, was among the first people who attempted to help.
"When I turned to look at the first man, I instantly noticed a VERY strong resemblance to Chris Davis," Soukup wrote in an email to MASNSports.com. "He didn't have any Orioles gear on (so I wasn't sure .. there was no big '19' on him anywhere!), except his tennis shoes were black and orange.
"We glanced at each other with a 'good job' look and I said, 'Chris?' He said, 'Yeah?' 'Chris Davis?' 'Yeah?' I said, 'One hell of a way to meet Chris Davis.'"
Davis speaks out on his suspension (November 22, 2014): “I haven’t really talked a lot about it. I didn’t want to take the focus off what the team was doing, but eventually I knew that I was going to have to address it and I wanted to. I think the fans deserve an explanation. I think they want to know what happened.”
“Basically, in a moment of weakness I made a decision that cost me greatly. And it just goes to show that no matter how successful you’ve been in the past, no matter how much stuff you have, no matter how strong you are in your faith, the devil is going to continue to come after you.”
“Looking back on it, it was probably the best thing that could have happened at the time, but it was definitely one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through.
"The first few days after the suspension came out, I was really down, I was really depressed because I felt I had let so many people down and had really just scarred my reputation to the point where everything that I had done wasn’t really going to count for anything, and God just kind of reached down and put his arm around me at that time and let me know it’s OK to stumble as long as you continue to get up and move forward and learn from your mistakes.
“I’m at a point right now where I don’t wish to ever go through that again, but I appreciate the process and where it has brought me spiritually.”
September 25, 2014: Davis received a 25-game suspension for failing a second test for the drug. (Davis reportedly previously had an exemption, but not in 2014.) He missed the final 17 games of the 2014 regular season, and then he sat out all seven of the Orioles' playoff games. That means Davis has one more game left to serve in his suspension, the first game of the 2015 regular season.
On December 17, 2014: Chris received clearance from Major League Baseball to use Adderall in the 2015 season. Davis blamed his violation of MLB's drug program on his use of the drug, which is commonly used to combat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was his second failed test.
At the 2015 annual FanFest event, Davis said he was diagnosed with ADHD in 2008 and that he took Adderall to help him better function in everyday life. He had been granted a therapeutic-use exemption for Adderall by Major League Baseball in previous seasons but was denied in 2013, when he led the majors with 53 homers. He did not reapply for an exemption last season, when he admitted to taking Adderall multiple times to help his focus.
Davis has been granted another year-long exemption, but for the prescription drug Vyvanse. Unlike Adderall, Vyvanse is a slow-releasing stimulant that can last, according to research, up to 14 hours, according to Dr. David Goodman, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. (An extended-release formulation of Adderall called Adderall XR is also available.)
Davis is hoping that his 25-game suspension is now behind him. "There's no doubt [I have a new mindset]," said Davis, who now has a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) for his ADHD medication.
"I think you realize when something like the suspension comes up, it's really a privilege to be here and a blessing to play at this level each and every day. I mean, we work hard, day in and day out to prepare ourselves and to give ourselves the best opportunity to succeed. But at the end of the day, it's a privilege to be here and be a part of this team."
Davis's suspension last season was for two positive tests of Adderrall and he is expecting he'll face some hostile crowds away from Camden Yards. He already got a taste of things during Spring Training 2015. "One of the biggest things for me was going through 2013, all the false accusations and having to hear all that stuff about steroids because I was having success," Davis said.
"I think that kind of prepared me to go out there and play, whether they are cheering for you or against you [in the stands]."
O's manager Buck Showalter said, "It's been 209 days since he played in a Major League game. I know he's excited. So are we to have him back. It's been a long road for him. He'd be the first to tell you it was self-inflicted. But I don't think anybody here doesn't think he paid a dear price for it." (Ghiroli - mlb.com 4/8/15)
Chris has had a lot of hearing loss through the years because he does not use earplugs while hunting. He has trouble hearing anything that is spoken or occurs behind him. (MLB Network - Intentional Talk interview - 5/06/15)
Chris was named the 2015 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award winner by members of the local media, and he was recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to the regular-season finale against the Yankees. (Kruth - mlb.com - 10/2/15)
Dec 13, 2016: When he signed a club-record seven-year, $161 million contract this past January, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis referenced wanting to do more in the community. He made good on that promise, as he and his wife, Jill, announced a new partnership with the University of Maryland Children's Hospital (UMCH). The Davis family will serve as ambassadors for UMCH, helping to raise awareness for childhood illnesses and UMCH's role as a leader in patient care and pediatric disease research and teaching future generations of health care providers.
"We wanted to get involved in several ways with the city," Davis said of his wife, who previously worked as a nurse. "There were a number of organizations that we've already partnered with throughout the years that we're going to continue to work with. We wanted to do something that was a little closer to home for Jill, something that she could have a little bit more involvement with.
"We just kind of fell in love with the hospital, with the people who work there, the things that they're doing, where they want to go. We're all in on that. And we decided to come up here this offseason and do some things to kind of get involved in and show our faces even though we're kind of here and there [in Texas]." (B Ghiroli - MLB.com - Dec 13, 2016)
June 2006: The Rangers chose Davis in the 5th round, out of Navarro Jr. College in Texas.
July 30, 2011: The Rangers sent Davis and RHP Tommy Hunter to the Orioles for Koji Uehara.
January 17, 2014: Chris and the Orioles avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $10.3 million, plus incentives, pact for 2014.
January 16, 2015: Davis and the O's again avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $12 million contract for 2015.
- January 16, 2016: Chris and the Orioles agreed to a 7-year, $161 million contract for Davis to stay in Baltimore. He
will receive a $17 million annual salary from 2016 to 2022, and will receive additional annual payments through 2037, when he will be 51. There is no interest accrued on the deferrals.
The two sides reached an agreement less than two days after the Orioles, frustrated by stalled negotiations with Davis, reportedly made an offer to free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.